Editorial—Impeachment results no surprise, point to dire problems


Sam Rush/NW

North Wind Staff

On Feb. 13, the Senate acquitted Donald Trump in charges of inciting an insurrection in the form of the riot during which the U.S. Capitol was breached on Jan. 6. This result came as no surprise to us; it seems we all expected him to pass out of office without consequences. We sat back, swallowed our frustration and disappointment, even after having watched in horror as the Capitol was stormed. After all, that’s just how things work.

Although the simple majority of the Senate voted against Trump, including seven Republicans, a two-thirds majority was required.

According to History.com, only three United States Presidents, including Donald Trump, have been impeached by Congress. These presidents include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Impeachment inquiries were made against Richard Nixon.

In no other case in history was a single president impeached twice. Donald Trump was impeached twice in a 13-month period, marking an unprecedented political development.

Another result of this second failed impeachment: Trump is eligible to run for political office in the future, which would not have been the case if the trial had resulted in a conviction.

Given the nature of the accusations leveled at Trump during this impeachment trial, it will be interesting to see what the public wants. Does this country really want to see him in a political office, or even running for president, again? Perhaps after the Capitol riots, those who were on the fence about their support for Trump will be turned away from him. Regardless, it seems certain that his base will remain strong and continue listening to his polarizing rhetoric, and continue down the path of radicalization.

Trump responded to his acquittal with vows to continue his political career in some manner.

“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” Trump said in a statement.

Because the result of the impeachment trial was so likely to be an acquittal from the outset, many were frustrated that the House and Senate were spending time on the proceedings. It was surprising for some of us that the Senate did not call witnesses against Trump, as those witnesses, for example, the individuals involved in the riot who link their actions with Trump’s speech would have strengthened the case against him. 

Perhaps, because the House and Senate had decided to spend time on the proceedings in the first place, they should have done it right and called witnesses. They might have done well to call lawmakers Trump spoke to about the riot as it was happening, those who participated in the riot who perceived Trump’s statements as invitations to violent action and Trump aides who planned and organized the rally where Trump spoke.

Yet even that would likely not have changed the outcome of the trial. The politicians who did not vote in favor of the impeachment would not have changed their votes because their votes were decided before the trials began, based on partisan lines.

We all knew he wasn’t going to be punished by the House and Senate. Our only hope at this point is that he will face charges for other wrongdoings, such as tax fraud. Even then, due to his financial means, it is unlikely that he will face repercussions for any of his actions.

Trump said in his post-acquittal statement: “I always have, and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”

Yet Trump’s legacy has been anything but. At the North Wind, we condemn acts and rhetoric of white supremacy, and we also condemn violence towards government officials and buildings. Both of these are aspects of Trump’s legacy.

Not so many years ago, perhaps six or seven decades, politicians caught doing the things Trump did, such as lying to the American public, not to mention inciting riots resulting in the loss of five lives and damage to the Capitol, would have been shamed to the point of calling themselves out, and even resigning as Nixon did.

Now, what must someone do in order to be impeached? What will it take for a politician’s actions to break the partisan structure that protected Trump?

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.